Across several Afro-Asiatic languages, it used to be common to use entire sentences as personal names, usually with a deity involved. For example, the emperor Nebuchadnezzar's name in Akkadian was Nabû kudurri uṣṣur "may Nabû protect my heir". The verb uṣṣur "may he protect" comes at the end, as is standard in Akkadian (a strongly SOV language). In the name Ashurbanipal—Aššur bāni apli "Aššur is the creator of the heir"—the predicate likewise comes at the end, though this time it's a noun phrase rather than a verb.

However, there are also many Akkadian theophoric names that put the verb at the beginning, like Išme Dāgan "Dāgan listened" and Iddin Sîn "Sîn gave". Why do these names use the opposite word order? In Egyptian theophoric names, the divine name was usually put at the front (even if it should grammatically go later); was this similarly honorific, putting the divine names at the end for more emphasis?

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    I think this is too incomplete for an answer, but Semitic in general seems to vacillate between the two orders, cf the many Hebrew names in Yeho- vs those in -yahu (likewise ʾEl- & -(ʾ)el). Iirc written Egyptian does tend to move theonyms forwards as an honourific practice, but without cuneiform or Greek transcriptions of most of those names we wouldn't be able to detect it
    – Tristan
    Mar 13, 2023 at 9:27


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